Spring training is a time where veterans work on their game and prospects look to impress. With nothing to lose this spring, the Milwaukee Brewers made a mistake by not inviting top prospect ,Orlando Arcia to big league camp.
When he was first signed by the Brewers as a young 16-year-old, Arcia was viewed as a no-hit all-glove prospect. If he was going to become a major leaguer, many scouts viewed that it was going to be his brilliant glove that was going to carry him there and through much of his first full-minor league season (2013) that appeared to be the case.
During that season, Arica showed off his great glove skills playing for the Wisconsin Timberrattlers but he struggled to produce at the plate. He played years below the league average and it showed. Playing in 120 games, Arcia batted just .251 and had an OPS of just .647. If he had any hope of being an everyday starter he needed to show that he could be a consistent bat.
Last season, that bat arrived. Still playing well under the league average at the age of 19, Arica produced better than ever offensively. He finished the season batting .289 and though he only hit four home runs he was able to slug near .400 and put together an OPS of .738. He also put the ball in play often striking out just 65 times in 546 plate appearances. Using his speed and gaps to his advantage he had 38 extra base hits and swiped 31 bases in 42 attempts.
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This season, Arcia will begin the year at AA Biloxi where he will join other future Brewers hopefuls, Victor Roache and Tyrone Taylor who have big-time potential. If he can put together a strong season, a 2016 call-up is not out of the question.
The best teams are built up the middle and with a solid core already in the mix the future looks even brighter with Arcia coming soon to Milwaukee. He has proven that he is no longer just a defensive option, but he can be a future bat to plug into the top of the order, too. Arica got a lot of extra work in winter ball this spring, but at-bats with the big club would have been even better to see. While he had no chance to make the roster this season it would have been nice to have seen the 20-year-old on the field showing just a small glimpse of what the future could hold.